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Firm Heterogeneity, Market Power and Macroeconomic Fragility

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Abstract

We investigate how firm heterogeneity and market power affect macroeconomic fragility, defined as the probability of long-lasting recessions. We propose a theory in which the positive interaction between firm entry, competition and factor supply can give rise to multiple steady-states. We show that when firm heterogeneity is large, even small temporary shocks can trigger firm exit and make the economy spiral in a competition-driven poverty trap. Calibrating our model to incorporate the well-documented trends in increasing firm heterogeneity we find that, relative to 2007, an economy with the 1985 level of firm heterogeneity is 5 to 9 times less likely to experience a very persistent recession. We use our framework to study the 2008-09 recession and show that the model can rationalize the persistent deviation of output and most macroeconomic aggregates from trend, including the behavior of net entry, markups and the labor share. Post-crisis cross-industry data corroborates our proposed mechanism. Firm subsidies can be powerful in preventing quasi-permanent recessions and can lead to a 21% increase in welfare.

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  • Alessandro Ferrari & Francisco Queirós, 2021. "Firm Heterogeneity, Market Power and Macroeconomic Fragility," CSEF Working Papers 627, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:627
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    1. Firm Heterogeneity, Market Power and Macroeconomic Fragility
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2021-11-17 15:38:11

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm heterogeneity; Competition; Market power; Poverty traps; Great recession.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure

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